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Senior/Principal Researcher, Agriculture and Climate Change

Job ID 2016

Position Description:

Mathematica applies expertise at the intersection of data, methods, policy, and practice to address complex social challenges and improve well-being around the world. We create and use evidence to help our public and private sector partners improve programs, refine strategies, and advance knowledge. Over the past two decades, we have developed a large portfolio of international development work that spans more than 60 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Our work provides actionable learning to guide decision-making and improve outcomes in a range of policy areas, including agriculture and food systems; health and nutrition; water, sanitation, and hygiene; education and workforce development, and energy.

A key strategic priority for Mathematica is to expand our engagement, research, and impact on issues related to climate change. Mathematica’s growing enterprise-wide climate practice strives to bring forth the reliable and precise evidence required to measure the impact of climate policies, maximize investments, and improve public well-being. Applying our cross-sector expertise, we identify opportunities for climate solutions by engaging interested government, philanthropic, academic, and private-sector entities; partnering locally; and building capacity to ensure those solutions are contextualized, adopted, and sustained. 

To support this work, Mathematica’s International Research Unit seeks a visionary, entrepreneurial Senior/Principal Researcher, Agriculture and Climate Change to help grow, shape, and support Mathematica’s work at the intersection of climate change and agriculture. Theywill be a part of Mathematica’s multidisciplinary climate change practice and collaborate closely with other agriculture and climate change experts and researchers throughout the organization. Our current international climate portfolio is diverse, including efforts to measure the impacts of climate across sectors; inform and evaluate policies, strategies, and programs designed to help people, communities, and systems adapt and become more resilient to climate change; and develop decision support tools that help translate complex climate data into actionable insights.

The Senior/Principal Researcher will lead and support teams of Mathematica staff, international consultants, and in-country partners to generate and distill evidence to guide our clients’ strategy, program improvement, and policy efforts. This may involve leading evaluations and research; developing new and improved approaches to using big data, evidence, and learning to inform decision-making; and serving as a trusted learning partner and advisor to our clients and partners. In addition to leading research teams, the Senior/Principal Researcher will contribute to efforts to expand Mathematica’s portfolio and presence in the international agriculture and climate space. They will help identify and respond to emerging opportunities to grow and disseminate our work, and engage with bilateral and multilateral agencies, foundations, multistakeholder partnerships, and implementing organizations to identify their evidence and learning needs and craft a tailored strategy for meeting these needs that leverages Mathematica’s wide-ranging capabilities and expertise.

The Senior/Principal Researcher will have a strong track record of research excellence and expertise at the intersection of agriculture and climate change and deep experience using measurement, evaluation, and learning to drive strategy and decision-making for a range of partners. We are particularly interested in candidates with research experience in climate adaptation in agriculture. The ideal candidate will demonstrate specific expertise in issues related to measurement of climate resilience in agriculture, food system resilience, integration of climate data for conducting research, and distributional vulnerability and resilience, including across equity, well-being, and gender related outcomes. Individuals who excel in this position will have a passion for using data and evidence to drive social change, deep expertise in advanced analytics and use of climate data, a talent for conceptual and strategic thinking, an entrepreneurial mindset and the soft skills needed for effective business development, and an ability to produce high-quality work in a context of compressed timelines and changing circumstances.

Responsibilities of the Senior/Principal Researcher include:

Project leadership and quality assurance

  • Lead large and complex measurement, evaluation, and learning and research projects at the intersection of agriculture and climate change and serve as a trusted advisor and learning partner to clients
  • Provide research oversight and support across Mathematica’s climate change and agriculture and food security portfolio to ensure technical excellence and responsiveness to client and other stakeholders’ learning and decision-making needs
  • Support the development of new research ideas at the intersection of climate change and agriculture, collaborating with researchers across the organization

Strategy and portfolio development

  • Collaborate with Mathematica’s climate practice to support the development and operationalization of a strategy for advancing Mathematica’s position as a leader in the generation and use of data and evidence related to agriculture, food systems, natural resource management, and climate change.
  • Contribute to a portfolio development approach that is systematic, strategic, and forward thinking in its ability to anticipate future trends and funding priorities across clients focused on agriculture and climate change
  • Deepen and cultivate relationships with key philanthropy, government, multilateral, and other actors in the agriculture and climate change arenas
  • Create and pursue opportunities to present and discuss Mathematica’s work to funders, policymakers, implementers, and other stakeholders

Thought leadership and capacity-strengthening

  • Help deepen and expand staff expertise and know-how related to agriculture and climate change data, evidence, and research; such processes could include technical review of outputs and products, internal staff mentorship, and informal knowledge exchange among staff members
  • Support dissemination of Mathematica’s research and work through articles in peer-reviewed journals, gray literature publications, conference papers, blog posts, social media, and other dissemination channels
  • Participate in key conferences and other forums, as well as expert groups and advisory committees, to engage with key players in the climate change area, keep abreast of critical trends, and share Mathematica’s work where it is most useful
  • Mentor and develop junior staff and advise leadership on talent needs

Position Requirements:

  • PhD (or Master’s degree with equivalent experience) in agricultural economics, environmental economics, sustainable development, resource economics, economics, or a related discipline
  • At least 8 years of experience leading initiatives and projects that use measurement, evaluation, and learning to drive strategy development, program design, and decision-making for bilateral and multilateral agencies (including USAID), foundations, and/or other organizations
  • Experience leading evaluations, either as a principal investigator or project director in agriculture, climate change, and related sectors
  • Strong quantitative research skills, including the use of climate data, knowledge of developments in advanced evaluation method literature, and remote sensing expertise; expertise in the use of geo-spatial analysis and GIS software is highly desirable.
  • Established research record (contributions to peer-reviewed journals and gray literature publications and presentations at conferences and other expert forums)
  • Understanding of the agriculture and climate change funding landscape and a track record of securing contracts and/or grants from foundations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, and/or other organizations
  • An entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing new, innovative ideas and approaches that will help advance the profile of the organization in the agriculture and climate space
  • Strong commitment to client-centered approaches that prioritize client needs and goals
  • Demonstrated leadership, strategic thinking, relationship-building, and management skills
  • Proven capability in successfully developing and leading new areas of work and managing teams to perform that work
  • Stellar written and verbal communication skills, and the ability to (1) convey complex technical issues to non-expert audiences and (2) present and share research results in a way that resonates with clients, practitioners, and policymakers
  • Experience in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are preferred
  • Ability to travel internationally
  • Fluency in at least one language in addition to English preferred; fluency in Arabic, French, Hindi, and/or Spanish is highly desirable

Mathematica offers our employees competitive salaries and a comprehensive benefits package, as well as the advantages of being 100 percent employee owned. As an employee stock owner, you will experience financial benefits of ESOP holdings that have increased in tandem with the company’s growth and financial strength. You will also be part of an independent, employee-owned firm that is able to define and further our mission, enhance our quality and accountability, and steadily grow our financial strength. Read more about our benefits here: https://www.mathematica.org/career-opportunities/benefits-at-a-glance.

A cover letter, CV, and writing sample must be submitted at the time of application via our online application system.

This position offers an anticipated annual base salary range of $105,000-$155,000 (Senior Researcher); and $140,000-$200,000 (Principal Researcher). This position is eligible for a discretionary bonus based on company and individual performance.

Available locations:  Princeton, NJ; Washington, DC; Remote

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

At Mathematica, we understand the importance of building relationships with colleagues. If you’re not located near one of our offices but would like opportunities to meet up with co-workers, we offer coworking spaces where available. Ask your Talent Acquisition partner for more information about this opportunity and whether it’s an option in your area.

Any offer of employment will be contingent upon passing a background check. Various federal agencies with whom we contract require that staff successfully undergo security clearance as a condition of working on the project. If you are assigned to such a project, you will be required to obtain the requisite security clearance. Additionally, if you participate in/complete the application process and are denied, Mathematica may choose to terminate your employment.

Although Mathematica does not require vaccination from COVID-19 as a condition of employment, various projects or agencies may require documentation of vaccination (or an approved exception/accommodation).

We take pride in our employees and in their commitment to excellence. We encourage staff to collaborate in developing creative solutions to difficult problems and to share the responsibility and enjoyment of carrying out complex projects. This collegial spirit has helped us earn our reputation for innovative and high quality work.

One of Mathematica’s core values is a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our work is more robust because it is informed by a variety of diverse perspectives, and our mission to improve societal well-being is strengthened by a greater understanding of issues and challenges facing the populations we serve. Mathematica’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion is woven into our everyday actions, policies, and practices—including decisions regarding recruitment, training, compensation, and promotion. We are dedicated to maintaining a work environment in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity.

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